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Criminal Crotch-Grabbers of Wilton Manors

If you're a man, and you've set foot in a bar in Wilton Manors sometime in the last ten years, you know how silly are the following words, which appeared in this story at South Florida Gay News:

Rape is not the only reason to contact the authorities. If you are out at a gay menu and a man grabs your crotch, or touches you in a sexual manner that is unwanted, he can be charged with a Lewd and Lascivious conduct misdemeanor.

It would take an impractically large police force to apprehend Wilton Manors crotch-grabbers. Unless the National Guard isn't otherwise occupied, I'm not sure it's even possible.

The SFGN article is about man-on-man rape -- a real and under-reported problem, which was discussed in a three-hour seminar on Tuesday at the Pride Center at Equality Park. Take a look. It's pretty enlightening. I was shocked to read that most of the men in attendance raised their hands when asked if they or their friends had been victimized, and I was less surprised to read how the hands went down when the men were asked if they'd reported their victimization to the police. Machissimo, it seems, can cover a whole lot of hurt.

But this business about the crotch-grabbing is something else. Crotch-grabbers at gay bars don't think they're "Lewdly" or "Lasciviously" misdemeanoring anybody. They think they're administering an especially convivial handshake. And it's done everywhere -- among the chic young substance abusers at The Living Room; among the elegant old opera queens at Tropics; among the happy thirtysomethings at Sidelines. If one of the habitual crotch-grabbers in these joints was to find himself suddenly handcuffed and hauled out of the club by a man in uniform, he'd be vaguely thrilled utterly surprised to learn he'd done anything wrong.

And why's that? 'Cuz we tolerate this stuff. We gays like how free and edgy we all feel in our oversexed little communities, and if somebody touches our junk, we figure we asked for it, simply by virtue of stepping out of the house.

We didn't, of course, but nobody ever makes that point. So maybe, before we start slapping charges on our crotch-grabbing local yokels, we ought to smack their hands, look them in the eye, and say: "Don't be so grabby, asshole." It might be that simple.

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Brandon K. Thorp

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